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Today in the Legislature

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 04:52 PM

House Redistricting Committee Hears from NCSL Redistricting Expert
The House of Delegates Select Committee on Redistricting met today in an informational hearing to hear an overview by Morgan Cullen from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) regarding redistricting laws from a federal standpoint. The redistricting process is constitutionally mandated and strictly governed by state and federal laws. Public involvement and comment has the potential to be higher than ever this time around due to an ease of communication with advents in technology.

He also stated that complying with the Voters Right Act, as is federally mandated, often leads to linking similar communities of interest together such as minority districts. Doing this can lead to oddly shaped congressional districts but he states this should not be a problem in the mostly rural, largely Caucasian population in West Virginia. He pointed out that two of the three Congressional Districts in West Virginia, the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts must gain population while the 2nd must lose population to remain within the federally mandated guidelines of equal representation.

For more information on federal redistricting guidelines he presented members with the Redistricting Law 2010 journal, found online at the NCSL website.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 02:15 PM

Lawmakers Conduct Extensive Studies on Marcellus Shale During July Interims
During the July Interim meetings, the Joint Select Committee on Marcellus Shale conducted two extensive hearings regarding the implications, the economies and the effects of horizontal drilling of natural gas within the Mountain State.

An in-depth explanation of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology was provided by the Professor and Chair of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Department from West Virginia University. West Virginia’s Deputy Tax Commissioner addressed the growth of Marcellus Shale development on the state’s severance and property taxes; while a spokespeople for the WV Environmental Council and the WV Surface Right Organization provided perspective from their vantage points.

The Joint Committee on Marcellus Shale is expecting to conduct three, 2 hour meetings during the August Interims (Aug. 1-3) to tackle a legislative draft proposal regarding the overall production process utilized via natural gas horizontal wells.






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